Placing the Spotlight on Barrow County
ess than an hour away from Gwinnett County, Barrow County is one of the youngest counties in the state. It’s also the first county to be named after a living Georgian (UGA Chancellor David Crenshaw Barrow Jr.), and the 28th fastest growing county in population. Formed in July 7, 1914 out of portions of land from Gwinnett, Walton, and Jackson counties, Barrow County has grown in population by more than 50% since 2000, and with 500 registered businesses in the county, it continues to grow in economic development.
From its county seat of Winder, the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce and its president, Thomas R. Jennings, who has served since January 2007, have been responsible for the economic revitalization that has been ongoing since the early 2000s. As the geographic center of the Innovation Corridor, a region of bioscience and economic industry that spans 15 countries and includes Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse College, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Georgia, Barrow County is the site of many factories and distribution centers within the Southeast. With the exception of the Barrow County School System, which is the county’s largest employer with 2,100 employees, much of the county’s largest employers are industrial manufacturers and private businesses, such as Chico’s FAS, Inc. (clothing), Harrison Poultry, Republic Services (distribution), Chateau Elan, Barrow Regional Medical Center, and Walmart.
In addition to these businesses, Barrow County is also in the process of becoming a hub for several high-tech industries, such as Advanced Manufacturing, with the recent addition of DHX Electric Machines, a Georgia Tech incubator, in 2016, Biotechnology and Life Sciences through its proximity to The University Of Georgia and the Barrow Campus of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Information Technology, and the Warehouse and Distribution sectors. With its access to I-85, Highway 316, and a stretch of CSX Transportation that directly connects it to Savannah, and Park 53, the county’s newest Industrial/IT complex, Barrow County is well on the way to becoming an economic powerhouse in the years to come.
From its largest city, Winder, to Braselton, the 7th fastest growing city in the state that straddles the borders of Barrow, Jackson, Hall, and Gwinnett counties, to Auburn, Carl, Statham, and Bethlehem, a tourist destination for its Christmas festivities and its Christmas-related street names, there are several destinations that are renowned at the state, regional, and national levels.
With Chateau Elan Winery and Resort on Interstate 85 in Braselton, at least three renowned golf courses, Winder’s Fort Yargo State Park, a 1,580 acre site built around a fort dating back to 1792 with fishing, hiking, and lakeside yurts, Victor Lord Park, and the Barrow County Historical Society and Museum, which was built on the former county jail, it is no surprise that Barrow County is increasingly becoming a flourishing community and tourist destination.